Ponderings: Matters of the Heart

We have a place in our being where we store our precious memories, where we activate our deepest values, and where we make our major decisions.  We call it our “heart.”

Amazingly, we can get there in a split second.  Sometimes a sight, sound, or smell will take us there without warning.  At other times, we still ourselves and consciously travel the short distance between the surface and the soul.  Once there, recollections and resolutions take shape. 

Advent is a good time to visit our “heart.”  We’re told that Mary pondered everything that was happening “in her heart.”  God has given us this sacred place.  It is good that it remains a familiar place to us.  We need to be “at home” there.  Furnishings need to be familiar; decorations need to inspire devotion.

Max Lucado put it this way: “The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.”  Our lives become like the disposition of our heart.  Perhaps this is why the phrase “incline your heart to the Lord” appears in the Bible.  When we “incline” our heart to God, whatever God wants to “roll” into it will come, as naturally as a ball rolling downhill. 

Paul gave us an example of the kinds of things that roll into our hearts when they are inclined to God:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).   He said it’s never “against the law” to live with these things activated in our lives.  They come to us from a heart that is filled with the Spirit.  

Advent gives us a sustained occasion to visit our hearts—to incline them to God.  And when we leave that sacred place, we will be better people, living lives that glorify God.  Life is lived “from the heart.”

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.